A TOTAL of 29 scholars completed the seven-month Software Development Training Program (SDTP) at the Negros Occidental Language and Information Technology Center (NOLITC) in Bacolod City on Monday, August 19.

The training program is a pioneering project of the Provincial Government-run center in partnership with Coders Guild.Net (CGN).

It is an intensive training course designed to produce entry level programmers.

Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson, in a message delivered by Executive Assistant Charina Magallanes-Tan, underscored education and improving the educational policies of the province as top the priority agenda of his administration.

"Education remains to be the most important tool in lifting families from poverty and in giving solid opportunities to the youth," he said.

Sixteen scholars also completed the SDTP Level 1 course, while 21 scholars finished the Contact Center Services and English Language Proficiency Course (CCS-ELP).

Board Member Agustin Ernesto Bascon encouraged the graduates to stick to their dreams, believe in themselves and have faith.

"If every Negrense will be given a chance, they will always move forward," he said, adding that this is stated in the seven-point agenda of the governor dubbed "Abanse Negrense."

For his part, CGN founder Joey Gurango emphasized that the event marks a milestone for them, NOLITC and the graduates as well as for the province and country.

Gurango recalled that the project started just a year ago. "Now we are seeing the completion of the first two batches."

Of the 29 graduates in the SDTP course, 16 were already hired by Servio Technologies.

Gurango said two companies -- XRM Philippines and Servio Technologies -- will be opening their offices in the city

The company aims to employ 100 SDTP graduates of the center by the end of 2020, he added.

Ma. Cristina Orbecido, vocational school administrator of NOLITC, said the project started with a dream to create a pool of employable software programmers in the province, now it is a reality.

Orbecido told the graduates to always dream, believe and act on it.

She also stressed the importance of having the correct attitude in the workplace.

Meanwhile, about 81 percent of the CCS-ELP graduates were already employed in different business process outsourcing (BPO) firms in the city even before their graduation.